SC agencies want to see piece of $600 million Savannah River Site settlement

State News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Industries in the state have been hit hard by coronavirus pandemic, but state agencies have also felt the impact of COVID-19.

“We’ve created isolation or what’s called quarantine space in all those facilities, which is good for COVID purposes, but it is again a double edge sword because our revenue is down,” said Mark Binkley with SC Department of Mental Health.

SCDMH is just one state agency that feels the financial impact of COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, the department pleaded to the SC General Assembly for more money appropriated in the state’s budgets.

Binkley explained “Our salaries are not competitive with other health care organizations. We use the same personnel as Prisma Health, as MUSC and the McLeod systems..”

Unfortunately, many of those requests went unanswered. But Monday, Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the additon of $600 million to the state’s general fund from a lawsuit settlement.

Attorney General Wilson added, “I do intend to sit down with them and make sure the budget priorities of the people of South Carolina are met especially during this pandemic situation we are going through right now.”

For the agencies trying to recover from COVID’s impact. The announcement comes right on time while agencies try and figure out how to adjust.

“The lower your revenue whether it be state or earned you’re going to have to leave positions vacant you may have to provide fewer services,” Binkley continued.

This $600 million is a one time up front payment that will be applied to the 2021 fiscal budget.

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